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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Apar ad Aguinaldo Eco-Walk 2023: What’s it like to climb Mt. Ang-nge’

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Hiking the scenic Mt. Ang-nge’ in Galonogon village of Aguinaldo, Ifugao is a perfect getaway from hustle and bustle of everyday life, especially those in the city. It offers enthusiastic walkers the chance to revel in the beauty and bounty of nature.

GURU Press Cordillera and Kalinga-based Blueboard Media had the chance to experience first-hand the awe-inspiring and meaningful eco-walk that was among the key events prepared by the local government led by Mayor Gaspar Chilagan Jr., as part of their 2023 Apar ad Aguinaldo.

Early morning of March 29, 2023, the 37 participants were ferried from the municipal ground to the jump-off point - Saddle, Galonogon, Aguinaldo viewpoint. There, hikers were grouped by batch, each having a tour guide, medic, and police personnel. As the climb t-shirt and trail foods were being distributed, the briefers made it clear for participants to “follow the trail marked by red ribbons.”

The picturesque mountain backdrop from the start of the eco-walk was irresistible. Some hikers turned into travel vloggers, others photographers, while some just gazed in amazement.

The first part of the hike was merely a walking portion of the rugged terrain of Saddle – Pagui-id – Lutupan - Hegwang Farm-to-Market Road. It was an easy-peasy trail, until the road project marker where the real mountain climbing begins.

Steep and uneven ascents tested the cardio endurance and core strength of participating hikers. Chatting with friends, meeting new ones and interacting with locals kept us entertained, shifting our focus away from our aching feet.

Every hiker has their own reason to keep climbing the second-highest peak of Aguinaldo. For the oldest participant – Ghumie Pinkihan, 60, a resident of Tabuk City, and a native of Kiangan, Ifugao, conquering Mt. Ang-nge’ is more of a personal goal. Part of her annual bucket list is to go somewhere she had never been or to do something new. The hike, she shared, is part of her list to likewise show support to the local government.

For some, it was the satisfying view at the tippy top of the mountain that they were after. Others were after the experience and the sense of fulfillment of reaching the ridge and the summit. Personnel of the police force, firefighters, and other line agencies were there to ensure safety the way. A friend who was about to give up continued the hike when teased about being laughed at by colleagues for not making it. No matter the purpose, we kept going until we finally reached the final stretch.

The reward, following the challenging ascent, was mesmerizing. We indulged in a much-deserved rest at the peak of Mt. Ang-nge’, which stands at a towering height of 1,300 meters above sea level. Accordingly, the mountain got its name from its spinning top view.

From the summit, we were awestruck by the panoramic views overlooking the flourishing seat of Aguinaldo municipal government unit and other mountain ranges. From time to time, the sea of clouds envelops the view, making the peak looks like a floating island.

The smiles on the faces of hikers arriving at the summit were relatable – feeling satisfied and proud of the result of their determination in attaining a goal. Not everyone has the courage to endure what it takes to get to the peak of metaphorical mountains in their lives.

While at the summit, the next oldest and youngest participants were determined. Next to Pinkihan, the second oldest was Elizabeth Chorha, 59, a native of Aguinaldo, Ifugao, while the youngest hikers were William Josh Lihoc, 17, from Canada; and Vince Arnold Ngipol, 19, from Banaue, Ifugao. The elderlies were praised for their stamina.

After savoring the moment and taking pictures on the branch bench set up by the Galonogon local officials that added to the amazing view, hikers headed to the other side of the same mountain which offers another Instagrammable view.

We then braced ourselves for slips and tumbles that are most likely to happen as we hiked downhill. True enough, we slipped but were quick to get back up to avoid being caught on cameras.

Instead of strolling the same FMR, we took a different route on our way back. We passed by the creeks, a few traditional houses, and agricultural plantations where locals practice organic farming.

Up until our final stop at the municipal hall, the 7.5-kilometer hike is a testament to Aguinaldo town being a “home of bounty and adventure.”

As to the difficulty of the eco-walk, it ranges from 4 to 9, depending on the experience level of a hiker.

More than the climb certificate awarded to participants on that day, the exhausting yet memorable climb is a reminder for us to allow ourselves to feel the discomfort, rely on our own pace and hike our way to reach the peaks of our lives.


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